Your toddler probably understands far more words than they can say. But once they are up and walking, talking is the next big thing. Learn what kinds of words to expect and when.

Toddler language development differs greatly among children. Toddlers often understand more words than they can speak. Some language development milestones to expect are the use of self-related words and speaking in short sentences. Once your little one is steady on their feet, you'll be surprised at how much they have to say. Keep in mind there are marked differences among toddlers in their word comprehension. Toddler language development milestones at this age include:

  • Distinguishing words
  • Toddler communication: understanding others' words and phrases
  • Toddler speech development: forming words
  • Learning that some things that look alike have different names, like a “cup” and a “juice glass.”
  • Following simple instructions
  • Toddlers often use gestures along with a word or two to communicate

Your Toddler's Milestones

A toddler's communication varies greatly in terms of how many words they understand and when they speak. Your toddler often understands far more words than they can say. On average, they might understand 20 to 30 words at 12 months or so, and speak 3 or 4 words.

Along about 18 months, there is a spurt in spoken language that often includes self-related words such as “me” and “mine.” They will no doubt get a lot of mileage out of these words, along with a resounding “No!” when they are upset. Their sentences increase to two, three, or four words. “You go.” “Me want juice.” “No want to go car!” Keep a notebook handy. These early thoughts are priceless.

How Can Nutrition Help Toddler Language Development?

Language development involves good vision and hearing. A child also needs to be physically healthy to focus on learning the language. All of these things can be supported by good nutrition. Be sure your little one is getting a balanced diet with all the recommended nutrients, carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals they need.


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